A major City property sale has collapsed after a Chinese investor abruptly pulled out of its £455m purchase of Broadgate Quarter.
The joint owners of the building in the heart of London’s Square Mile, the US property developer Hines and HSBC Alternative Investments, had been close to completing the sale after weeks of due diligence.
Estates Gazette [paywall] reported that the deal had been expected to be signed as early as next week.
After the preferred bidder withdrew, Hines and HSBC relaunched the sale process and are talking to a handful of other bidders who made it through to the final round.
China’s deepening economic slowdown and the sharp sell-off on its stock markets since mid-June have sent shockwaves through global financial markets. State intervention warded off another sharp slide on Wednesday and brought some calm to other major markets.
The chaos has led to a surge of wealthy Chinese investors seeking shelter in foreign property, but estate agents have also seen some pull out because they no longer have the capital, especially after Beijing banned shareholders with large stakes in listed firms from selling for six months in July.
Broadgate Quarter, near Liverpool Street station, was put up for sale in May with a price tag of about £430m. The building has 425,000 sq ft of office space and tenants include Swiss investment bank UBS and law firms Ashurst and Shearman & Sterling.
Agents DTZ and Knight Frank are handling the sale. Both declined to comment.
The collapse of the deal will raise concerns for others looking to sell large City assets. Successful deals earlier this year saw Taiwanese firms snap up the home of Madame Tussauds for almost £350m and the Walbrook office building in the City for £575m.
Chinese investors have bought scores of British assets in recent years. One of the biggest investments came in February when China’s largest private investment fund, China Minsheng Investment, announced it would spend £1bn to develop Royal Albert Docks in east London as a new financial district to rival the City and Canary Wharf.
Dalian Wanda Group, one of China’s largest property companies, is building one of Europe’s tallest residential buildings in Nine Elms in south London, which will include what has been billed as the first Chinese luxury hotel overseas.
China’s sovereign wealth fund CIC owns major stakes in Heathrow airport and Thames Water.
This article was written by Julia Kollewe, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 2nd September 2015 19.08 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010